Rajab and Sha’ban are the seventh and eighth months in the Islamic lunar calendar.
- battles were prohibited in Rajab by the Prophet;
- no specific way of worship has been prescribed in this month*;
* ‘Uthman b. Hakim al-Ansari said, “I asked Sa’id about fasting in Rajab, and we were already passing through the month of Rajab, whereupon he said: ‘I heard Ibn ‘Abbas say…’.” See hadith below.
فَقَالَ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ رضى الله عنهما يَقُولُ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يُفْطِرُ وَيُفْطِرُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يَصُومُ
“I heard Ibn ‘Abbas as saying ‘the Messenger of Allah used to observe fast so continuously that we used to say that he would not break it and did not observe it so continuously that we were inclined to say that he would not observe fast’.” — Sahih Muslim
عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ قَالَ إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا، أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ
“The Prophet said, ‘Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and al-Muharram, and Rajab Mudar* which stands between Jumada and Sha’ban’.” — Sahih Muslim
* named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ
“O Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and enable us to reach Ramadan!” — al-Bayhaqi
رجب شهر الله وشعبان شهري ورمضان شهر أمتي
“Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.” — Anas bin Malik or Abu Sa’id al-Khudhri
This is a notoriously weak and/or fabricated hadith and should not be accepted. Some say, without proof, that Rajab was the month in which the Prophet’s blessed parents were married, and the month in which the Prophet’s mother, Aminah, became pregnant, implying that because of this, Rajab is the month to either get married or give birth.
“When one of the pious scholars became ill he said: “I have asked Allah to delay my death until the month of Rajab because I have heard that those that die in that month are saved from the Fire.” Allah answered his supplication and he died in Rajab.” — unknown source
Islam was sent to confirm the supernatural while dismissing the superstitious.
It is reported, however, that Prophet used to fast most of the month in Sha’ban. These fasts were not mandatory but being that Sha’ban is the month immediately Ramadan, one mightmight infer that he was getting himself/his body ready for the month-long fast.
Anas bin Malik reports that the Prophet was asked, “Which fast has more merit to it after Ramadan?” He replied, “Fasting in Sha’ban in honor of Ramadan”.
Usama ibn Zaid reports that he asked the Prophet “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha’ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month” to which the Prophet replied: “Sha’ban is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds of human beings is presented before the Lord of the universe, so I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting”.
Celebration of Laylah al-Mi’raj
Many believe that Mi’raj took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Some people have even taken to calling it “Laylah al-Mi’raj”.
And while the event of Mi’raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of the Prophet neither he, nor Allah, ordained any celebration about its occurence. We also find none of the Companions making it into some soft of annual celebration.
What’s the lesson in this for us to learn and benefit from?